James “Bob” Jackson 1928-2022

Wednesday, June 15, 2022
James “Bob” Jackson 1928-2022

BILLINGS – Bob passed away on June 5, 2022, of natural causes, at the Billings Clinic Hospital, at the age of 94. He was born in Dillon on May 16, 1928, to James and Adeline Jackson. He grew up at Dillmont Park, a local roller-skating rink and weekend dance hall. His mother passed when he was 12, after which, he lived with multiple people in town until he graduated high school and moved to Butte. He was drafted shortly after for the Korean war but contracted rheumatic fever and, after several months in the hospital, received a medical discharge, much to his disappointment. He moved to China Lake to work at the Naval Ordnance Test Station, where he met a young coworker by the name of Ray. After she refused his attention, he did not give up and they were eventually married in 1953 in San Bernardino. They moved to Missoula, where he completed his teaching degree at the University of Montana. He remained a loyal Grizzly fan for the next 67 years. His first daughter, Ruth, was born in Missoula. They moved to Billings in 1955, where they had another daughter, Jean, and a son, Lowell.

In Billings, he taught high school business classes at Senior High and the Career Center over the next 30 years. He could never go anywhere in Billings without meeting a former student. His outgoing, friendly and genuine personality made him popular and well liked by all. As a teacher, he had many side jobs over the years. He spent several summers working at the Flaming Arrow Boy Scout Camp with family in tow. In 1965, he and Ray took over running the Yellowstone Teachers Credit Union. It went from a small business that they ran out of their basement to a large financial institution with several employees and its own building on 24th Street. He retired from the credit union in 1989.

His lifelong passion was rockhounding. You could say that he never met a rock he didn’t like. He spent most of his spare time looking for Montana agates, arrowheads, petrified wood and sapphires. If it was buried in or on the ground, he was out there trying to find it. He shared his passion for rockhounding with his children, grandchildren and even his friends. Even up to his final days, he spent hours in his rock shop, where he could cut and polish agates and display his collection.

He was a member of the Billings Gem and Mineral Club for many years. He also belonged to the Golden K Kiwanis, retired teachers and Shiloh United Methodist Church. He very much enjoyed the interaction with people.

Bob was a dedicated father and husband, and always made sure his family’s needs came first. He will be sorely missed.

He was predeceased by his wife, Ray; brother Mel Jackson; sisters Ilene Urschel and Bunny Hall.

He is survived by daughters Ruth and Jean of Billings and son Lowell (Alise) of Lafayette, Colorado; grandchildren Rob Kinney (Melissa), Rachel Ridle (James), Danyul Jackson (Rachael), Jeremy Jackson, Victor Jackson (Taylor); great-grandchildren Gabrielle, Katie, Emma, Adrian, Eli and Lily.

A Celebration of Life will be held later this summer. Memorials can be sent to the charity of your choice.